One of the hardest things I’ve found about travelling is fitting in exercise. I have always exercised, whether it’s bouldering, snowboarding, playing on the college basketball team, the football team in secondary school or a Southampton to Paris cycle. Or cycling to and from work, totalling 13 miles everyday. I feel better after exercising, it clears my mind. Particularly cycling, I put headphones in and just go out and cycle 25 miles. It’s me time and that’s what I missed.
I no longer have my bike, which saddens me a lot, and I dislike running. In an ideal world I would run for half an hour in the morning before work, I would get to see the new place I’m in and exercise. Perfect right? But no, I can’t bring myself to do it.
One of the things Adam and I packed into our ’luxuries’ bag was resistance bands. I do try to use these in the evenings but it isn’t the same as a proper workout. This leaves me with joining a gym, and I will spend the rest of this post discussing my experiences.
In Berlin I looked into gyms within a 20 minute walk of where we were staying. There were 2, the first one looked liked it was aimed at bodybuilders entering a competition. Absolutely not. The second, opened by Madonna, seemed like it would be ok. They had regular classes, a sauna and what looked like a good weights section. Nope. You had to sign a 12 month contract. So joining a gym in Berlin was out of the question.
I then looked at nearby swimming pools, I had brought a bikini with me so this could totally work. I packed up all swim stuff, walked the 10 minutes to the pool… and it was closed. There was a sign on the door in German. Turns out it was closed for basically the 2 months I was in Berlin. The worst thing about this situation was that I got so excited about going swimming, and have you ever had one of those times where you’re totally pumped and ready to do exercise to then not do it. So frustrating.
Then comes to my time in Prague. When Adam and I were looking for accommodation I saw that there was a gym a 2 minute walk from where we planned to stay. Perfect I thought. Maybe Prague is when I get my head down and exercise. And actually I have managed to do that. You can pay for a one month membership at the gym and they have a variety of classes.
However, when I do these classes the instructors are speaking in Czech so most of the time I have no idea what is going on. The very first class I took I told her before that I was English and that I didn’t expect her to repeat everything in English for me. And if I was slow or looked confused I was just trying to figure out what was going on. The instructor was actually really nice and said a few things in English for me. However this gets awkward when she corrects your plank in English in front of the whole class. Normally in classes you can get away with things because you can pretend they’re not talking to you. In this situation I couldn’t as I was the only English person and she said it in English. Pretty funny.
After that situation I am now too awkward to tell them beforehand that I am English so I basically go there, do not speak to anyone, do the class and leave. I realised that in the spin classes I can get away with it as I can just copy what people around me are doing. So yeah I spend the whole hour getting shouted at in Czech yet I have absolutely no idea what they’re saying.
So yes many awkward situations but now that I am back to doing proper exercise 4/5 days a week I am happy and more relaxed.